Dec. 6, 2008
RUSTON, La. - Visiting Arizona shot an icy 22.9 percent from the field in the first half, allowing host Louisiana Tech to a 68-53 win over the Wildcats, Saturday evening in the Thomas Assembly Center.
Despite playing on the road, the Wildcats figured to have a slight advantage in the game with Louisiana Tech missing leading scorer Shanavia Dowdell, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday evening against Mississippi State and was unavailable for the game against the Wildcats.
However, the offensive struggles that have plagued the Wildcats over the past three games continued. Entering the contest shooting .346 (50-of-152) over the past three games, Arizona shot just 8-of-35 in the first half.
Things could have been much worse for the Wildcats were it not for the play of freshman guard Courtney Clements, who made her first career start. While Clements was a respectable 6-of-13 in the first half, the rest of the Wildcats were just 2-of-22 from the field as the Lady Techsters built a 33-23 halftime advantage.
Arizona brought an added intensity to the start of the second half as well as a better attention to offensive detail. While Clements still got her shots, the Wildcats also got inside buckets from Amina Njonkou and Beatrice Bofia to trim the lead in half at 43-38 at the 12:09 mark.
The Lady Techsters answered with five-straight points, starting a stretch where the teams traded pairs of baskets over the next few minutes. However, the hosts had an answer for every Arizona spurt.
The game turned for good after Arizona had surged behind a pair of free throws by Njonkou and a three-pointer by Clements to keep the Cats close at 55-51 with 7:43 to play. Tech sharpshooter Brietta Thomas answered with her fourth three-pointer of the game, however, sparking a 11-0 run that put the game out of reach with 4:01 remaining.
Adrienne Johnson led all scorers with 21 points for Louisiana Tech (3-4), hitting 10-of-18 from the field to go along with four steals and three blocked shots. Thomas hit 4-of-5 from beyond the arc to add 19 points off the bench while Whitney Jones chipped in with 17 points.
Clements shared game-high honors with Johnson, tallying a career-best 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds for the Wildcats. Njonkou tossed in 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds while Ibekwe also had 12 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds.
Arizona (3-4) returns home for a three-game homestand through mid-December, starting with the University of San Diego on Thursday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m.